Some good news from our taxman


News In Numbers: September 13

 Rs 153,000 crore

What is it? Central excise tax collections between April and August this year, registering a growth of 49%.

Why is it important? This is a lead indicator of the health of themanufacturing sector, which accounts for around 15% of Indian economy. Latest GDP numbers showed investments have declined in three months between April and June 2016. Combining these two numbers, we could say demand for manufacturing has picked up but not to an extent where producers think it would outstrip their spare production capacity.

Tell me more: Services sector too did well, reporting a 23% growth in April – August 2016. Services account for more than half of Asia’s third largest economy.


What is it? The decline in share price of Cairn India since December 8, 2011, when metals and mining major Vedanta acquired 58.5% in it for $8.67 billion.

Why is it important? Yesterday, shareholders of Cairn India finally gave a nod to merge their company into Vedanta. This ended a multi-year period of uncertainty for Vedanta’s prized entry into the oil and gas sector, which first afoul of the government and then of Cairn shareholders.

Tell me more: During the same period, the BSE Sensex was up 72% and the BSE Energy Index was up 35%.

 2 million tonnes

What is it? India’s planned buffer stock of pulses up from 800,000 tonnes at present.

Why is it important? It will cost the government Rs 18,500 crore, twenty times more than the current allocation of Rs 900 crore in price stabilisation fund. It has to bridge the gap through other internal resources or from the market. The move is aimed at reducing the price of pulses which has shot up on the back of low domestic production in the last two drought ridden years.

Tell me more: Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Monday that if the retail prices of pulses and certain other food commodities don’t come down, the government would invoke Essential Commodities Actto impose a cap on prices.

12,000 cusecs

What is it? The volume of Cauvery water that Karnataka has to release to Tamil Nadu every day till 20th September, per Supreme Court’s modified order. Earlier it had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs per day till 16 September.

Why is it important? This has led to violent protests in Karnataka, resulting in destruction of property, and one death from police firing.  Bengaluru police imposed Section 144 on 16 areas in the city on Monday, restricting public assembly and movements. While Karnataka’s reservoirs were only 30% short of water, compared to 49% in Tamil Nadu, overall reservoir capacity in Karnataka is a fourth lower than Tamil Nadu’s.

Tell me more: In its modified order, the Supreme Court criticised Karnataka government for citing public unrest as a reason for seeking a change. “If we are allowed to say then we must say that the tone and tenor of the application is absolutely disturbing. Agitation, spontaneity or galvanized riot or any kind of catalystic component can never form the foundation for seeking modification of an order,” it said.


What is it? The additional runs scored per test innings by Cheteshwar Pujara, as compared to Rohit Sharma, since India’s tour to Sri Lanka in July 2015.

Why is it important? In the recent past, captain Virat Kohli’s preference to play five bowlers has often resulted in the flamboyant but inconsistent Sharma playing over the dour but effective Pujara. Both were included yesterday in the squad for the tests against New Zealand later this month.

Tell me more: During this period, Pujara has scored 409 runs at an average of 45.44. By comparison, Sharma has scored 278 runs at an average of 23.16. Please share it with your colleagues, friends.

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Why HDFC stocks were a better investment than houses in last 8 years

This piece originally appeared on


If real estate was your investment idea between January 2007 and September 2014, there was a smarter investment option: buying shares of India’s largest housing finance company, Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC).

Had you purchased a house, you would have had to choose your location well: 89 of the 195 location pockets across 25 cities tracked by a price index of the National Housing Bank (NHB) returned less than a bank deposit. Had you bought into a basket of real estate stocks put together by BSE, your investment would have eroded 80%.

By comparison, the share price of HDFC appreciated more than three-fold during this period. It delivered returns that were beaten by only one out of 25 cities on an overall basis and by 15 of the 195 location pockets tracked by the NHB Residex. Ironically, while Indians have been pouring money into property stocks in a weak market, foreign institutional investors increased their ownership of HDFC to 79.65% as of 31 March—the highest foreign ownership among the 30 members of the benchmark BSE Sensex.

HDFC versus other real estate investment options




HDFC versus better-performing location pockets




HDFC versus major metros















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